6 Gross Things That Happen When You Don't Clean

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Unless you're a total neat freak, you probably put off cleaning around the house until absolutely necessary. Laziness strikes — and so does the dust — and before long you're living in total filth. When that happens, it's normal to take pause, look around, and wonder what gross things will happen when you don't clean your apartment.

You might also wonder how much longer you can put things off. And the answer is — not long. That's because cleaning isn't only about keeping up appearances and not having to panic when a surprise guest stops by. It's about staying on top of household chores — like taking out the trash and emptying the fridge — for the very sake of your health.

Like it or not, gross things do happen. And when they do, your apartment can become a little biohazard of dirt, germs, and allergens. You can only sit around for so long with trash piling up and dust accumulating before things get out of hand.

So if you haven't cleaned in a minute, or you're wondering how much longer you can go before scrubbing the toilet, then here are some gross things that just might inspire you to get out the mop.

1. Dust Mites Will Move In & Make Your Allergies Worse

If you don't dust or vacuum, your apartment will turn into an allergen festival. Pollen will gather in the nooks and crannies, pet dander will lie in wait, and dust mites will come out in force. Basically all things that make your eyes water and your nose run will be chilling out on surfaces, and making your allergies worse.

Try: Bissell Vacuum with OnePass, $79, Amazon; OXO Good Grips Microfiber Extendable Duster, $14.99, Amazon

None of it is good, but in my opinion, the worst offender on the list is dust mites. According to an article on, "Dust mites (actually, their excrement) are responsible for the majority of year-round allergy problems in the bedroom. They live in soft surfaces, and dust, and come out to eat the skin cells and oils we all shed throughout the day." Gross.

When To Clean

If you suffer from allergies, then you'll need to dust at least every week. You'll also want to kill dust mites by washing all your bedding in hot water and cleaning the floors with a HEPA-filter vacuum, especially in the spring.

2. Your Bathroom Will Become A Biohazard

Bathrooms can seem sort of self-cleaning. I mean, the shower is full of soapy water, the toilet flushes, and the sink washes away all those toothpaste stains. So really, the whole room basically takes care of itself, right?

That'd be nice, but sadly it's not the case. In fact, it's quite the opposite. The wet environment makes your bathroom the perfect place for mildew, as well as gross (and dangerous) molds. According to Chanie Kirschner on, "Mold is a form of fungus that is found all around us in the natural environment. However, when there is moisture indoors that isn’t dried immediately — such as when there is leakage or flooding — mold can grow inside, too." Yikes.

When To Clean

After every shower, turn on your bathroom vent to help dry out the room. And prevent molds from cropping up by washing surfaces and tiles with disinfectant sprays at least once a week. If you already have something growing around your sink and it looks like black mold, then you'll want to go ahead and call a professional. This stuff is toxic, so you shouldn't clean it up by yourself.

Try: Lysol Multi-Purpose Cleaner with Hydrogen Peroxide, $3.79, Amazon

3. Those Sheets Of Yours Will Rot

OK, maybe they won't rot. But sheets are pretty good at collecting oils, dirts, and other questionable stains. As Kristen Sturt noted, this is especially the case if you've been sick, if you go to bed without showering first, or if you sleep naked. These habits dirty up your sheets way faster, and make frequent washing even more necessary.

Try: Gain Liquid Detergent with Original Scent, $5.99, Amazon

When To Clean

Wash your sheets once every week to two weeks, and more often if you're sweaty, naked, or sick.

4. The Trash Will Attract Bugs

Taking out the trash often feels way harder than other chores because it involves going outside where it's often cold, and where it's necessary to wear pants. But don't let this deter you. An overflowing trash can, and/or one that is dripping with leaks, is bound to attract ants, cockroaches, or worse.

When To Clean

Take out your trash bags as soon as it gets full (or even before if it's smelly), and clean up any spills or drips that have gathered in the bottom of the bin.

5. Your Fridge Will Grow Creatures

I know, we all have the best intentions when it comes to eating leftovers. But more often then not, they get pushed to the back of the fridge to rot. When that happens, mold and bacteria can start to grow, and you really don't want these things hanging out by your food.

It's not only about spoiled leftovers, however. You can make your fridge even more germy by simply using it. According to an article on "Removing smelly items reduces odors and cleaning the spills improves the look, but what isn't readily visible is the bacteria that accumulates in this food storage area between thorough cleanings." Sigh.

When To Clean

Wipe up spills as soon as they happen, throw out expired food ASAP, and give the whole fridge a thorough weekly cleaning with a disinfecting spray.

Try: Seventh Generation Multi-Surface Disinfecting Cleaner, $10, Amazon

6. Animals Will Live In Your Clutter

We all know spilled food and crumbs attract bugs and mice. But did you know animals like to live in clutter, too? Yes, even "well-organized" clutter. Because really, they just want to hide and will look for houses with lots of places to do so.

The worst part though, is that mice can bring disease. In fact, one mouse can carry up to 25 different diseases, such as the deadly Hantavirus. Suddenly all those piles of books and magazines don't seem worth the risk.

When To Clean

This one may be quite the undertaking, because you really should de-clutter your entire place. That includes your basement, if you have one, as well as your closets. Do a big yearly spring clean, and get rid of junk once and for all.

It may not be fun, but cleaning your apartment is imperative to your health. Doing so will prevent little gross things from moving in and making you sick, so do it often.

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